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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


The Impact of Learning Style on Organizational Learning

Kenneth Goldberg.

The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact of individual learning style on employee organizational learning. Specifically, the study explored the impact of individual learning style on the perceptions of disciplines in learning organizations as described by Senge (1990).

Theoretical Framework.
Literature has recognized the significance of learning to gain competitive advantage in organizations (Argyris, 1993; Garvin, 1993; Lewin, 1951; Watkins and Marsick, 1993). Since organizations are made up of individuals, an individual's learning style is thought to impact organizational learning (Kolb, 1984). The study measured the levels of support perceived by employees of the disciplines of the learning organization defined by Senge (1990): Systems Thinking, Team Learning, Mental Models, Personal Mastery and Shared Vision. It explored the impact of individual learning styles on organizational learning by measuring the perceptions of the disciplines of learning organizations.

The sample consisted of 182 full-time employees of an organization that adopted the principles of the learning organization. The participants completed the Learning Style Inventory (Kolb, 1984) to determine individual learning styles and an Organization Design Survey to determine learning organization perceptions (Neeley, 1997). The response rate was 87.4%. Using related research, the study extrapolated data from previous studies to evaluate learning styles and employee learning organization perceptions. The researcher used basic descriptive statistics, and analysis of variance (ANOVA).

When individuals were considered by learning styles, it was found that 1) learning styles impacted learning organization perceptions; 2) in the aggregate, the assimilator learning style was the most frequently observed learning style; and 3) in the aggregate, systems thinking was the most strongly perceived discipline.

Conclusions and Recommendations.
The study suggested that individual learning style at the micro level had an impact on organizational learning at the macro level. It is suggested that a better understanding of individual learning style should be considered when developing strategies for organizational learning. The results were generalizable to any organization.


Kenneth Goldberg  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Business
National University

  • Learning Organization
  • Individual Learning Style
  • Organizational Learning

(30 min Conference Paper, English)